Citizens Advice calls for urgent investment to tackle draughty properties

Citizens Advice has called for urgent investment to tackle draughty housing, which it says will save lives, reduce fuel poverty and help the UK achieve net zero. Its report says improving home insulation, alongside other energy efficiency measures, could save the NHS £2bn a year by preventing 6,000 excess deaths annually, cutting childhood asthma cases by 650,000 and saving residents a total of £24bn by 2030 – up to £951 a year per head.

The charity is calling for urgent public and private investment to upgrade 13 million of the UK’s 15 million most energy-inefficient homes – which house 31 million people – to EPC level C. It says the retrofit would pay for itself within ten years despite the upfront costs, generating £40bn. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 33 million tonnes, or 5%, by 2030.

Actis, an investor in sustainable infrastructure, agreed. It said that it needs to be part of a balanced approach, with retrofitters needing to consider specification PAS 2035:2019, which champions a whole-house approach including a ventilation strategy. UK and Ireland Technical Director Thomas Wiedmer said: “While on the surface it may seem sensible to insulate all external walls to the best possible U-value, this could have unintended consequences elsewhere. In some scenarios where the ceiling joists meet the walls, it can create a weak thermal bridge. This might lead to moisture build-up. It may, counterintuitively, be better to use less rather than more insulation.”

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